My son has flourished in the family environment which the school has created.
The Mead as a Community
The Mead is determined to provide a first class education at accessible prices. Situated in a large converted house close to the historic heart of the Tunbridge Wells, its philosophy is to ensure pupils do not grow up in a bubble. The school embraces, supports and promotes its local community and town to provide facilities and extend pupils’ learning experiences. We are a school whose links with its surroundings are intrinsic and play a vital role in our daily lives.
Each school house has a strong individual identity and are named after the Chalybeate Spring (the source of Tunbridge Wells), William Makepeace Thackeray and the Duke of Wellington’s strong connections to this area.
We incorporate our town in our learning from preparing and eating authentic food at the local Mexican restaurant while studying Mexico, to being regular visitors at the local Museum, library, firestation and more and through exploring local history and geography. We endeavour to make The Mead’s presence positive at each place. To reach these places, including the train station for the numerous London trips, pupils walk through the town having a real presence in it whilst growing up appreciating all it offers them. By visiting these places, we add value to the local economy and an intangible value to the community.
A green school, we operate walk to school initiatives, providing scooter/ cycle parks and cycling proficiency for Year 6.
Sport is a highly profiled part of the curriculum. Every child swims weekly at the local swimming baths (employing three of their staff ), Tennis is played at the county courts, we host the ISA Rugby Festival at T.Wells Rugby club ( both walking distance ), hold our annual Sports Day at the municipal grounds and take Year 6 windsurfing at Bewl water. As a result numerous Mead children become members of these sports clubs and continue to be so through secondary school and beyond.
The Mead follows the Forest School initiative working with the Woodland Trust. We have a designated Forest School area in Hargate Forest – again walking distance from the school. EYFS pupils regularly visit local parks and staff organise trips to include parents/ carers to these places enabling them to get to know and utilize the town’s recreational facilities.
Being a Christian School, it is incredibly important to have a spiritual base away from our own school, and our local church, King Charles the Martyr, where we enjoy regular services in beautiful surroundings, does this and more bringing school and church communities together. The choir entertain the parish elderly and serve tea! Grandparents are celebrated and invited into school. Year 5 visit KCM, together with the local Baptist churches from an RE perspective and study the buildings, history and formats of worship. A range of local speakers are invited to take assemblies both religious and non (a list is included)
Harvest is celebrated, food collected and delivered to the local food bank, together with money raised by the children. Upon discovering there have been fewer donations and an increased demand we have run Halfvest – a repeat collection at Easter, ensuring the Food Bank continues to serve the community. We try, wherever possible, to add the value of our pupils to make a discernible difference – i.e the choir sings at a host of different events, including local nursing homes and in the Pantiles.
As active practitioners, we welcome the chance to give back what we have learned or discovered. Staff feedback online at national Teachmeets and Conferences and were invited to present, as a school, our work with computers at the BETT Exhibition. We welcome ‘hub sharing,’ hosting training and networking events for teachers at The Mead, highlighting our local community to a wider audience. We forge positive and beneficial links with local Nurseries, enabling all to better serve local children.
Friday morning sees ‘Mini Meadites’, a coffee morning for under 3’s, free and open to the whole town, run by a Mead EYFS keyworker.
The most public highlight of our community time is the week spent at the Trinity Theatre, for our summer show and prizegiving. Children, staff and parents revel in this experience and relish the chance to, for one week a year, inhabit a working theatre, working with professional technicians and performing on the stage. For many parents this is their first visit to Trinity and many now support local productions.
The Mead operates a ‘buy local’ policy whenever possible. The local butcher and dairy bring daily supplies, the Web Designer, architects, builders, tradespeople and other artisans come from Tunbridge Wells.
We welcome local businesses using our facilities eg a local firm of solicitors used The Mead as a base for their fundraising ‘Build a Village in Africa’.
Our Houses could be representative of our school history but we instead reflect our local heritage; Distant suppliers and coaching our pupils to far-flung museums is replaced with supporting our own heterogeneous town; Our church roots are an active part of our learning and worship, not mere lipservice; Our children’s skills and talents are not kept to ourselves but shared. We don’t simply work with the community – we are an active part of the community, and the gifts this pays for both parties are countless.
USE OF LOCAL COMMUNITY
Local facilities used:
Freedom Leisure Centre swimming pool – all year groups swim every week
Cadogan Playing Fields – venue for Annual Sports Day
Nevill Tennis Club – we hire 7 courts once a week during the Summer Term
Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club for ISA Rugby Tournament
Bewl Water for Year 6 windsurfing
Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells for our whole School Summer Show and prizegiving
The Pantiles – the historic heart of Tunbridge Wells
Places regularly visited:
Hargate Forest – for Early Years Forest School
Bushcraft – camp for Years 3 & 4 for two nights – neighbouring village
Kent Safety in Action course run by KCC for Year 6
Tunbridge Wells Library
Tunbridge Wells Museum
Ramslye Woods (local to school)
Dunorlan & Calverley parks in Tunbridge Wells
Zapatas Restaurant as part of Year 1 studies (Mexico)
Raj Pavilion Restaurant as part of Year 2 studies (India)
British Wildlife Centre based at Lingfield
Productions at Assembly Halls, Tunbridge Wells
Chatham Historic Dockyards
Clambers Acitivity Centre for Kindergarten
Maypole Dancing at Mayfield Fete
Wiintershall – visit every 3 years for ‘Life of Christ’ Passion
Three day study trip to the Isle of Wight for Year 6 and undertaken using only public transport
London Transport Museum
Houses of Parliament
WE Day event at Wembley Arena for Year 6 (first year)
West End Shows
The Polka Dot Theatre
Tower of London & The Monument
O2 Young Voices Concert – choir took part
Royal Albert Hall – the choir sang at the Barnardos Concert
Speakers at Assemblies:
Talks from ex-Mead children, eg. Three Peaks Challenge & missionary work
Vicar of King Charles the Martyr and pastors of both Baptist churches
Assembly by representative of ‘Help Tibet’
Build Africa Assembly
Poppy Assembly from member of local British Legion
Assembly by a parent on climbing Kilimanjaro
Assemblies by various professional musicians introducing instruments
Presentations/performances/events at school:
The Young Shakespeare Company – visit us every Autumn for workshops with Juniors and an interactive performance
Drama workshops - ‘We’ll Meet Again’, ‘Under the Sea’ workshop, Folk Tales’, ‘The Night Zookeeper’, ‘Search for Santa’ and the BFG for Roald Dahl Day
Sensational Science – a demonstration by local professor every Summer
Raptor Centre – local birds of prey
Kent Bat Group
Wildlife A & E, Tunbridge Wells
Planetarium – workshop for each year group
World Book Day with visiting local storyteller, Dave Arthur
Thorulf the Viking and building a Viking Longship
Steps in Time – different historical performances for Years 2 to 6
Annual talks for KS1 & KS2 by local policeman on age-related subjects
Adolescent talk by nurse to Year 6 boys and Year 6 girls
Music Concerts to various audiences
Soup Bowl – collection of food from Harvest & Halffest Festival
Royal National Children’s Foundation – money raised from church service collections and Annual Cycle Ride along the Forest Way
Samaritans Shoe Box Appeal
Children in Need
Sports Relief/Red Nose Day
Crises appeals – the Philippines Typhoon Appeal, the Japanese tsunami, etc.
Hospice in the Weald
Collections for King Charles the Martyr Church
Clothes for children in Morocco
Places of Worship
King Charles the Martyr – Harvest Festival, Nativity, Carol Service, Easter Service & Leavers Service are held here as well as Year 5 visit for RE studies
Baptist Church as part of Year 5 RE studies
Choir sing at Young at Heart Club, Fellowship of King Charles the Martyr, ISA conference at Eastbourne and also at late night Christmas shopping
Local businesses used:
Daily supplies from local dairy, greengrocer and butcher
Various local craftsmen and builders